Thursday, November 29, 2007

Disney Never Mentioned This...

... This being a breed of fairies I was previously unfamiliar with. According to some literature, there are Australian Fibre Fairies, and a package from some appeared on my doorstep on Tuesday. I'll relate a little more information about these fascinating creatures in a few minutes. First, I have to mention the ick part, because the ick came before the fun part of Tuesday.

So, I realized that if I wrote this the way I would tell it to you as a story, it would be a novel. I like the look of my own writing, what can I say? In short (relatively) form, here is the story:

Jim and Mike were both hired for overnight stocking positions at the Target I'd previously mentioned. Jim is a psychopath who wanted to leave three and a half hours early for his interview. Traffic through Philadelphia is bad, but not quite that bad. We left at six forty-five, and that was after I talked him down from six. SIX!!! I was interviewed three times, and filled out lots of surveys. And the result? No jobs for the me. Actually, I was politely informed right before my third (!!!) interview that there were no positions available for me, but that they were going to finish my interviews, anyway. How sweet.

We wanted to take a quick tour of the house we're interested in for Mike's benefit (mr. "as long as it's got a room for me and a bathroom, i'm okay with it" is suddenly very interested in seeing this place), but there was an issue with the sump pump, which created a "small" flood in the basement. No showing for us, probably for about two more weeks. By then, we'd hoped to be maybe moving in somewhere. Now Mike and Jim will probably be commuting to their new jobs for a couple of weeks. Ick, huh?

I was not having the very best of days as we were going home (two hours through traffic thanks to some accidents, bringing my total time spent in the car to something like nine hours), but Momolla sent me a text saying, "you got a package." After harassing Kate for some details, I determined that it wasn't a) a bomb, b) anthrax, or c) a tiny, angry man with a hammer sent to break my legs. This excited me enough to risk life and limb by making Jim detour to my parents' place so I could pick up (and open) said package. I ran into the house, sliced some tape open, and read the signature on the attached note. I also showed off the contents of the lovely package, albeit extremely briefly. If I had remained in the house more than five minutes, the menfolk would've taken my car and left me. I did manage to actually read the note in the car on the way to Jim's place, and it made me cry (i am soooo mom's daughter, though i don't cry at hallmark commercials. that'll probably come when i'm older). Here are the contents of said package, along with some things I have deducted about Australian Fibre Fairies:

They have an excellent sense of timing. This package arrived and the generosity and sweetness of it after such a gross day really made me smile. And giggle, and twirl in a circle and jump up and down (after I opened it and actually registered what was in it) and hug it like a teddy bear.

They have excellent taste in wool (well, they are fibre fairies, they should know what they're doing).

They can fit a lot of goodies into one box.

Their talents aren't limited to only fibers (or is it fibre? research is inconclusive). They also bestow sweets, pretty things, and reading materials on lucky people.

They seem to have some connection to piracy...

And here we see the contents of said package in a more spread out manner. There are two balls of Heirloom Argyle sock wool, a huge ball of Bendigo Woolen Mills Baby wool (the fibre fairies have told me it's for when i decide i'd like to try dyeing my own, how did they know?), a skein of Opal sock wool that (i think) says it includes bamboo in a colorway I can't determine (german? screw it, knitting is the universal language, i totally understand that label...mostly...), a skein of merino cashmere sock yarn (yum!) in Water Lilies from The Knittery, and a skein of sock wool from the Happy Spider in Forecast. Gorgeous, gorgeous yarn! And, there were other presents, too! The package also contained a stuffed koala (i love him!), a bar of lemon myrtle soap that smells divine, a magnet for the fridge, a mandala decal (which will be taking up residence on my car), and Yarn, an Australian knitting magazine. I nearly forgot, the box of goodies also contained some candy called Fantales (australian nutrition labels list energy. how weird/cool is that?), chocolate covered caramels with trivia bits on the wrapper. Mmmm, chocolate!

So, yeah. I didn't get a job even though I spent, like, eternity in a Target in another state (i wore high heels! and makeup! i put makeup on and wore high heels!), and spent even longer in my car. But you know what? There are some wonderful fairy godknitters out there who sent me some love and kindness, and that made my whole day. So what if the house we're looking at floods? The yarn doesn't go in the basement. So what if I may have to transfer and work at my crappy job when we eventually move? I have yarn. I can knit the frustrations away. Mmmmm, yarn. Fuzzy and soft, and wonderful. Thank you, Australian Fibre Fairies. I have some suspicions that you may have secret alter-egos, and one day I would like to thank them, too...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Turkey, leaves, and heels

Thanksgiving here was wonderful and peaceful and pleasant, reminding me of why I love the holiday so much. Mom prepared an amazing spread, and Jim and Colleen came to partake of it with us. I also learned how not to make pancakes (i managed to forget not only oil, but salt. needless to say, they were...different. dad liked them, though), though I can usually manage a fairly decent batch. After all, they're pretty simple.

Dad and I bonded over changing my battery, which was rather more complicated than such things usually are, because we had to take the tray it rests on out, and change the hold-downs on it. It was actually a lot of fun, and the weather cooperated, too. It was entirely too warm for November, and sunny and mild. So of course, the very next day, it was cold and miserable again. Gotta love south Jersey in the fall.

All the trees are naked now, it looks more like winter outside than fall. It was one of the most spectacular autumns I've ever seen, the trees were gorgeous for weeks. It's kind of sad to see all the leaves fall, but it's so much fun to shuffle through them. I love that crunching noise they make!

I'm working the heel flap for my bribe sock (i have been for days, knitting time has been a little scarce), and will probably be turning the heel tonight or tomorrow. Jim's scarf continues apace, I think I only have about eight to twelve inches left before I can bind it off, wash it, and watch him wear it. Maggie's scarf... Well, it's still almost long enough. Thank goodness children are little and only need little scarves!

In other news, we're making lots of progress towards finding a place to live. There's one that looks particularly promising in a nice development with cheap rent (for the area, it's still a touch more than we'd figured on) and lots of space. It's a cookie-cutter house, it looks exactly like all the other houses in the development, but they'll let us paint and maybe plant some flowers. Jim and I both have job interviews at a Target not far from the house we're interested in on Tuesday morning, which is even more good news. I'm applying for a management-type position, Jim's looking to do overnight stocking so he can manage his school shifts better. I'm crossing my fingers, counting my pennies, and praying real hard that this all comes together soon.

Time to go get ready for another work marathon. Since we (finally) canned the guy who was stealing, everybody is working six days this week, crazy long hours. And yet, we're still not allowed to have any overtime. Stupid corporate stuff. I hope everybody enjoys the rest of the weekend, and that the week goes smoothly and well for you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tattoooooo!!!

...is what I usually exclaim when I'm taken a bit by surprise by one of my tattoos. Bells wanted to hear about other people's tattoos, so here is the story of mine.

When I was in school, I managed to earn a reputation as a sweet, innocent, naive person. I dressed conservatively, got pretty good grades, and was involved in a lot of activities. I also look about four years younger than I really am. So, yeah. I had a reputation for being a goody-goody, which is a little funny, because I swore and stayed out late and wasn't actually a goody-goody. I just wasn't into the whole drinking and drugs scene and that pretty much sealed my fate.

Momolla and I ended up at the Atlantic City boardwalk on a semi-annual trip and wandered past a tattoo parlor. We were entranced by the signs, one of which read, "A cheap tattoo ain't good and a good tattoo ain't cheap!" And another one that pointed out, "Yes, it's going to hurt!" Well, at least they were being honest. We talked about tattoos a bit and how we'd each always wanted one, then kept walking away.

The next summer, we walked past the same shop, and decided that, yeah, we were gonna get some tattoos! I don't think we had really done much research of planning, Mom and I just looked at each other and decided to do it. Mom ended up with a chain of flowers around her ankle, and I chose a music note and a rose on my left hip. The picture on the left is the least-crummy one I could manager to take. This is the one I sometimes forget about, as it's almost always covered by my pants or an ugly work uniform. It's given me a new test for buying pants; if more than just the top of the rose is visible, they're cut too low. I love the location of this one, so very few people know about it. It makes me feel a little rebellious and grown up, too. And, yeah, a little sexy, when just the top part is peeking out of a pair of good jeans. And I like feeling like I've managed to shake the whole sweet and innocent thing just a little. Oh, yeah... It hurt. But it was worth it. The pain is so weird, because as soon as the pen is lifted off your skin, the hurting stops.

About two months after our first round of tattoos, Mom and I went back for more. These really are addictive. For my second tattoo, I chose something more visible, but still very feminine and un-offensive. After all, I'm stuck with it, and most corporate places frown on visible tattoos. This one is actually on the base of my hand, right above the bones in my wrist. It hurt so much more than the first, because the whole tattoo is inked over a lot of bones, and there's not much flesh there to cushion it. This is the one people see, and they often ask me if it's real. They then feel obligated to touch it to confirm my answer that, yes, I did get a tattoo. It's a good thing it isn't a fake, it would rub off pretty quickly!

And those are my tattoos. Nothing too racy, nothing scary. I like to think they're feminine and pretty. Jim doesn't really want me to get any more, so I'm holding off for now. There are a few more I'd like to get in the future, though, before everything starts sagging and stretching.

In other news, we finally caught the guy who was stealing at work. Boy, was he punished, too--he's on paid suspension. So, he admitted to stealing a whole lot of stuff, and he gets paid for the hours he was scheduled for without coming into work. Somehow, "stealing is wrong" doesn't seem to be the moral of this story. "Go ahead and steal, we'll send you on vacation" feels a little closer. Ah, well. There's nothing I can do, and at least he can't steal from us if he's not there. Maybe they'll fire him eventually, when he steals more stuff from us.

In knitting news, I've come up with a wonderful rationalization for the lopsided scarf. I'm going to tell people it's wider in the middle to wrap around the neck better, and narrower on the ends to tuck into a jacket more easily. Sounds pretty plausible, no? Also, I've started the heel flap on the bribe sock. It's so soft and pretty, I'm looking forward to it being done.

Time to go pretend to be productive some more. I love lazy weekends off, it almost makes up for all the customers who ask if I live at my store.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Because it's that time of year...

I complain. I'm a normal person, and some days, I think I have it pretty rough. But, well, it's the time of year to stop and be thankful, right? And today, I realized that I take a lot for granted.

When I was at work last night, I talked with a woman named Miriam. She's a grandmother, and she was telling me about her granddaughter, who was bopping in and out of the store. Her daughter, the granddaughter's mom, had been laid off the day before. A month ago, the granddaughter's father dropped dead, they still don't know what killed him. Now the mother has no job and no child support payments, and it's coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas. This child has no dad and her mom has no place to work.

Today at work, I helped a woman who actually knew how to install her own wiper blades. I only saw one of her hands, but I didn't think anything of it when she left. She came back in to ask for a little help, and I noticed that one hand had no fingers. As a musician, and a knitter, and just a person, this scared the hell out of me. I showed the woman how to put her wiper on, and she hurried into her car and drove off. I think she saw me look at her hand, and was embarrassed or angry or something.

So, today, I am thankful. I am thankful that both of my parents have jobs and are alive and are still married to each other. I am thankful that I have all of my limbs and that they are all in working order. I am thankful that I have a job, and people who love and support me. I am thankful that Ashley, my friend in Iraq is okay. I am thankful that my car mostly works. I am so thankful for the trees and the sunshine and the deep peace of the woods. I am thankful for sheep. I am especially thankful for chocolate. And for shiny, pretty things. I am thankful for almost every breath I draw in. Fresh-baked bread is pretty good, and so are cats that like to sit in your lap in the winter, and warm, fuzzy socks fresh out of the dryer. Roses are nice, and so are most other flowers. Music, well, music I am more than thankful for. I am thankful for those moments that seem to be made of crystal, they're so perfect and clear. I am thankful for blue jeans that don't make me look even shorter. I am thankful for the first sip of coffee, and the last. I am thankful I could watch the sun rise, if I felt like being awake so darned early, and that I get to see the sun set from work almost every day. I am thankful I can breathe and run and scream and giggle and be silly. I am thankful for waiters who give me free pie, whether they're just trying to get my number or not. I am thankful for the internet, which gives me so many new people to meet and be friends with.

Your turn. What are you thankful for?

Mom's Meme

I don't normally do these, because I have a cousin who sends me dozens, but since Momolla tagged me, I kind of have to. One does not piss off the giver of yarn.


1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? Jim, who made me laugh so hard my stomach muscles are sore today.
2.What were you doing at 0800? complaining about how I absolutely did NOT want to get out of the warm bed and go to work.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Taking a shower to wash the dye out of my hair
4. What happened to you in 2006? I turned 21, started pulling myself out of a depressed period, and I cried. A lot. Jim held me close and told me it would be okay. I slowly started to believe him. I learned to knit, and I started the first ugly scarf.
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Oh, dear" in response to a joke Kate was telling me
6. How many beverages did you have today? I had some of a large coffee, some water out of my big work drink-holding thing, and a glass of milk with dinner
7. What color is your hairbrush? The one at home is light wood, the one at Jim's is dark.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? The coffee I mentioned a few questions ago.
9. Where were you last night? Mostly, I was at work.
10 What color is your front door? I do not personally have a front door, but the one here is just plain light wood.
11. Where do you keep your change? I put all my change in a receptacle which I refer to as the date jar. Jim has one, too. When they're full or we're bored, we trade them for bills at the bank and have a date.
12.What’s the weather like today? It was clear and about fifty-five degrees. In a word, perfect.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? That depends entirely on my mood, but Breyer's mint chocolate chip is my standard fallback.
14. What excites you? Books, instruments, a piece of really good chocolate, comments on my blog, doing something right, and Corvettes.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? When it bothers me, I have this crazy urge to shave it and just buy a bunch of wigs. Most of the time, though, I prefer to have long hair.
16. Are you over the age of 25? not quite yet
17. Do you talk a lot? How much is a lot? I love to talk, and to learn about other people and to tell stories and jokes. A lot is pretty much whenever I'm not reading or sleeping or listening to a book while I knit.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yup.
20. Do you make up your own words? On a regular basis. My job is especially good for that.
21. Are you a jealous person? I'd like to say no to that, so that's what we'll go with.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Amy, who I have known since I was five.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. Kely, who I've known almost as long.
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? "Lover Man" (which is jim)
25. What does the last text message you received say? "The game is rather one-sided so far, sixteen to zero chargers. How's your dye look, great as always? Know any females with a size six foot that like boots?" --jim
26. Do you chew on your straw? No, but I do use it to stir my drink when I am agitated.
27. Do you have curly hair? Sadly, no. I have often wished I do, though.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? Jim's place, shortly.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Any one of the many customers who come into my store.
30. What was the last thing you ate? I had some pot roast with veggies and gravy and homemade bread.
31. Will you get married in the future? I hope so, but probably not until I'm out of college, if not law school. One challenge at a time, eh?
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I haven't seen a full movie in well over two weeks.
33. Is there anyone you like right now?Yup, many more than I could name here.
36. Did you cry today? No, but this made me tear up pretty good.
37. Why did you answer and post this? Because my Mom is a nice lady, and sometimes if I do what she tells me to, she gives me stuff! :-P
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Can I just open it up and let people who want to post it, post it?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rain

Yup, it's raining here. Of course it is, this is southern New Jersey. Rain is our most common weather type. Okay, maybe not, but during the fall, winter, and spring, it sure feels that way. Autumn has definitely arrived, and it is here in force. It's not such a bad thing, though, because it's such a pretty time of year. There are trees out there that just shine, they're so bright.

I'm still trying to find a job in Pennsylvania, plus a place to live. This whole moving thing would be so much easier if those two things were handled. I have faith we'll find a house, and that we'll find jobs somewhere. Jim's looking at getting a job on a night crew somewhere, and in the interest of actually seeing him at some point, I'm trying to do the same. I really don't want to be nocturnal, though. Everyone else I know operates on a diurnal schedule, and it's hard enough to see them as it is. Ah, well. I'm sure we'll be able to figure something out.

I've noticed that most women I talk to seem so intimidated by cars, and that makes me very sad. Once you know the basics, they're much less scary. And believe me, most of it is basic. Someone suggested that I start a class and teach women (and men, but women seem to need the encouragement more) how to do basic things. I think it would be kind of cool to help people figure out what's what with their car. This all came to mind again last night when my mom mentioned her co-worker paid three hundred dollars to have his brakes done, plus the mechanic "found" something else wrong with the car, which cost another two or three hundred dollars.

Let's all say it together, "rip off!" Seriously, those parts should've cost maybe a hundred dollars, if the mechanic put the most expensive parts on there, and he could've tightened some bolts instead of replacing the part he "found" a problem with. That leaves us with three or four hundred dollars worth of labor. That's just wrong. Seeing people get ripped off like this always makes me upset. It's one of the reasons mechanics have such a bad reputation, too. And if the people who took their cars in knew more about what they drive, it would be harder for them to get cheated. And yet, unless they go to an expensive tech school or learn it from a friend, there's really no way to learn this stuff. Ah, well. No point in ranting. But seriously, if your mechanic tells you something that sounds wrong, ask him or her to show you the broken part and explain it to you. Really now, end of lecture.

Not much knitting news to report, I'm still working on my many projects. I'm trying to concentrate on the scarf, since it's cold, and Jim will need it. It's acrylic, so I can't block the tension issues out, so I think once I get towards the end, I'm going to tighten my tension back up and say it's a design feature. It'll keep your neck warmer or something. Yet another valuable thing I learned from marching band. If it looks wrong and there's no way or time to fix it, say it's an artistic feature.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Pictures!

I'm posting more pictures because I promised I would, and I eventually keep my promises, and also to distract myself from the idiocy that is my company. So, in the interest of pretty yarn, here are some more pictures!

This is another shot of the blanket, artfully draped over the back of a chair. The colors are a little truer in this shot, and it gives you a better sense of the size of the blanket.
This is Maggie's scarf (maggie being the cousin i'm making it for), and oddly enough, this shot gives you a pretty good sample of all of the colors that are worked into the purple yarn. It's cheap novelty yarn and not at all fun to work with, but it will be soft and cuddly for Maggie, who is seven, and will probably love it. It's the Yarn Harlot's one-row scarf, same as the ugly scarf, and it's kind of interesting to see the difference yarn makes in the pattern.

And here we have the ugly scarf, which my lovely assistant has "artfully draped" over the back of the chair in a heap. As you can see, it's camoflage. It's big. And it's ugly. But it will keep my beloved's neck warm all winter.


Aaaand, a closeup shot! Yup, still ugly up close. But so many stitches! This is another one of the one-row scarves, and you can actually see the stitch definition and the texture on this one.


This is my lovely assistant, sort of, holding the bribe sock. Soft and pretty, almost time for the heel flap.
And here is a closer view of the sock. You can get a better sense of how all those pretty colors work out. It's kind of cool to see them in sections of stripes, usually only a couple of stitches and a couple of rows long. And did I mention it's soft and pretty?

And this has nothing to do with knitting, but I wanted to share it. This is a picture of me, my beloved Jim, and two of my oldest, dearest friends at our local diner. The gentleman on the far left trying hard to look fierce is Ashley, who is on his way back to Iraq right now, and who I worry and pray in my own way constantly for. The second gentleman is Jim, looking like such a redneck in his camouflage jacket. But hey, it'll match the scarf. The young lady farther back is Amy, who I have known since first grade (the same as ashley, we all went to school together. i like to tell people i knew these two before i knew how to read). She's a wonderful, talented, young woman, and I love her dearly. And then there's me, all the way on the end. Hi! The date of the photo is wrong, it was definitely taken this past Friday.

At Last!


So, this is a crappily-lighted detail shot of the baby blanket finished not so long ago. It turned out to be pretty big, and I am exceptionally proud of something that was, after all, rather simple. What can I say, I'm easily amused. The colors in the picture have rather more red than in real life; the yarn had rather more orange and yellow.

Sadly, my computer's acting up and it's time form me to head out to another joyful day of work. After I get back, I'll post some pictures of my more current projects, assuming my computer stops sucking.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm not dead yet!

I made it through the week, and then some, with the help of some chocolate, some pretty yarn, and some insanity. Seriously, I must be out of my mind.

Friday night was much better this time, Jim and I cohosted a Halloween party that was lots of fun, fairly small and quiet. The weekend, of course, was consumed by working, but Momolla and Kate and I still managed to make it to a yarn store. Momolla bought me some gorgeous Claudia's sock yarn, it's colorway Argyle 2, black shot through with gray and electric blue. Mrs. Jim's Mom came home from the hospital on Monday, thankfully. Thanks for the good wishes and the karma, ladies! Tuesday was kinda fun, I gave Jim what I think of as a do-over birthday (he spent his actual birthday at work and trying to cope with his mom being in the hospital), I decorated the apartment a little and cooked my first lasagna for him while Mike took him to look at truck things, then after dinner we met up with some friends to play pool. Goodness, that's a long sentence! Anyway, the day went well, which was good for him.

And through this all, I have been knitting my bribe socks, as I think of them. This baby alpaca is jut nice to work with. It's soft and pretty(and it doesn't leap off the needles when left alone unsupervised) and it's very soothing to just knit for a while, without worrying about patterns or ribbing or what have you. Nice, simple garter stitch. And it's quick, or I'd not be saying "nice, simple garter stitch." The ugly scarf progresses apace, but I've just noticed that my tension has become drastically different at this point in the scarf than it was at the beginning. Shit? Shit. I'm debating the merits of ripping it out again and just buying an ugly camo scarf. Wait, I didn't mean that. Well, not really... Still, I'm learning the benefits of keeping an eye on tension throughout a project, instead of, say, three quarters of the way through it. So, how bad would it look if I just made my last several rows really tight, and made it look intentional (this is marching band thinking--if you screw up, act like it's supposed to be that way and maybe noone will notice)? The first few inches are much narrower and tighter than the middle section. Me am smart. Me am make things with stick and strings. Me am say knitting guud.

In other news in the world of Em, our newest minion at work is stealing shit, the rat bastard, and trying to blame it on my co-worker. We've reported him to loss prevention, but they seem to be dragging their feet on the matter. We think he's going to show up pretty clearly on camera taking a radar detector out of the store without paying for it. It's a two hundred dollar accessory he ordered with someone else's information so he wouldn't get blamed. Plus, he's stolen at least one other part, so his grand total for parts we're aware of is close to three hundred dollars. I feel kinda bad turning the guy in, he's not a bad guy, and I used to work with his dad, who I happen to really like. But for goddess' sake, he keeps the stolen stuff in his car! He honestly thinks we're too stupid to realize he's taken it. The rat bastard.

Right. That's enough of that. Time to listen to some book on mp3 (Grave Surprise, by Charlaine Harris), and knit something. Yes, knitting will soothe me. Tomorrow I take my friend who's home from Iraq up to Trenton to see my friend who's smart enough to be a brain surgeon but who wants to be a nurse. It should be a lovely trip.